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Haru 2022 Discussion Thread (SPOILERS!)

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Posted (edited)

Ichinojo kachikoshi. He has quietly made his case for a komusubi return, being the highest-ranker with a KK at the moment. I've barely noticed him this basho.

Edited by Eikokurai

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8 hours ago, Kaninoyama said:

Abi has literally taken a step backwards (many of them) this basho. 

Part of it is facing a stronger crop of opponents, but it seems like he went away from focusing purely on his form and, perhaps tasting an Ozeki run within his sights, began focusing too much on winning instead of "doing his own sumo."

I think the tough competition is the big part.  In his loss today, Abi appears to fall back on his old ways by losing balance while flailing his hands wildly. 

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2 minutes ago, Eikokurai said:

Ichinojo kachikoshi. He has quietly made his case for a komusubi return, being the highest-ranker with a KK at the moment. I've barely noticed him this basho.

He has been consistently solid, much more into the basho than the usual.

Ura got an easy win, only his 2nd of the basho.  I thought he'd go MK but didn't see him having such a bad basho hitherto.

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5 minutes ago, Eikokurai said:

Ichinojo kachikoshi. He has quietly made his case for a komusubi return, being the highest-ranker with a KK at the moment. I've barely noticed him this basho.

Yup. And tomorrow he gets Hoshoryu who is battling to hold on to that rank.

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Posted (edited)

Shouuuuuuudai! (Am I using the 'u' correctly?) Manhandled Takakeisho with ease there, more or less dropping him out of the yusho race (unless he gets lucky with a 12-3) and putting himself with one of his own KK. Six wins on the bounce. Great comeback!

 

Edit: Miscounted TK's record. Best he can get now is 11-4.

Edited by Eikokurai
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Just now, Taliesin said:

Shoudai is one big enigma...

It's like someone woke him up after day 6.  He looked out of it until then.  Amazing comeback so far. 

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Shodai easily defeats Takakeisho and my inner cynic sarcastically comments "Oh, what a surprise".

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2 minutes ago, robnplunder said:

He has been consistently solid, much more into the basho than the usual.

I think just because his record this time was stop-start. Lost, won two, lost, won two, lost, won, lost, won three. These last three days have been his only streak, so he's slipped under the radar for me.

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3 minutes ago, Eikokurai said:

I think just because his record this time was stop-start. Lost, won two, lost, won two, lost, won, lost, won three. These last three days have been his only streak, so he's slipped under the radar for me.

Ichinojo did something in this basho that I hardly see him do.  He is (IMO) showing some aggression. 

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Great result for Takayasu. Composed, patient sumo in the closing stages of the tournament when the pressure is really on. It might just be his time to lift the Emperor's Cup at long last.

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Takayasu withstands the pressure and rejoins WTK in the lead! Not quite a two-horse race but they're two wins ahead of the chasers now.

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When Takayasu closed the distance and created that form it was already over. He is clearly superior to Mitakeumi in this kind of sumo.

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It's now two guys I like to take the yusho at the top - Takayasu, and Wakatakakage.

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Although not really unexpected (his record against "old" Takayasu is terrible), today's loss is particularly bothersome for Mitakeumi. With Takayasu and Wakatakakage on a two-wins lead he seriously risks to go third place, or worse. Nothing alarming, of course, but not getting a JY means he's not going to build up a Yokozuna run with his Hatsu yusho. All back to scratch, in short.

However, things are not done yet. Wakatakakage has yet to face all the Ozeki, while Takayasu has just yorikiri'd the only one against which he has a good record. Takayasu vs. Takakeisho is in fact 7-9 but actually 1-8 for the last nine bashos. Takayasu vs. Shodai is 9-15 and even 1-11 for the last twelve encounters. There is a serious chance he might lose both matches, especially considering that Shodai A is back on track.

Wakatakakage on the other hand has slightly better perspectives. Wakatakakage vs. Mitakeumi is 2-6 but actually 2-2 for the last four matches. He can do it (poor Mita). Wakatakakage vs. Takakeisho is 1-5, a sumo Waterloo. Wakatakakage vs. Shodai is however 3-4, meaning he has again a chance.

Of course sumo is unpredictable, but record are still quite telling in several cases. All considered, perhaps we should watch out for a Wakatakakage yusho. He's defeating all his direct opponents (Kotonowaka, Takayasu) and his record is relatively favorable. Data show he has a shot at defeating both Mitakeumi and Shodai, while Takayasu is clearly disadvantaged in his pairings against Takakeisho and Shodai. Unless the Hamster and the Ozekiwake are going to sit on their KK, which might handle Takayasu the wins he needs.

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1 hour ago, Tigerboy1966 said:

Meisei has been painful to watch this time. He doesn't seem to have any strappings or bandages but something must be very wrong.

My memory is poor at the best of times, but I seem to recall that in January, Meisei was dealing with a lower back injury/issue.  Perhaps it's still bothering him, but he realises that taping does little to help...

1-11 is pretty embarrassing (Meisei has Yoshikaze's 2-13 in July in 2018 to aim for).

In July 2020, the Tatsunami trio (i.e., Meisei, Hoshoryu & Akua) made a splash down in Juryo.  Meisei won the Juryo championship, and led the charge to Sanyaku. He was doing so well, and then the wheels fell off.  Similarly, Akua seems to be struggling, and he will likely drop down to Juryo in May. That leaves Hoshoryu, who is (and will remain) the highest ranked of the Tatsunami trio.

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Ahhh, classic Chiyoshoma. These "deliberate matta into flying henka" tactics hadn't been seen in a while.

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It's not the first time I've seen a basho like Shodai is having, but I won't pretend to understand it. Quite a miraculous, and weird, turnaround.

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2 hours ago, Tigerboy1966 said:

Shodai easily defeats Takakeisho and my inner cynic sarcastically comments "Oh, what a surprise".

Yeah, the conspiracy theorists are going to be ecstatic if Shodai beats Mitakeumi (which the numbers suggest he's about due to).

So, no collapse from Takayasu. That's a good sign.
It also emphasizes that Mitakeumi is not rope-worthy. You just can't have a yokozuna looking that helpless.
I'd have been happy remembering him as an outstanding sekiwake, and I think I'd prefer remembering him as a competent ozeki who didn't go kadoban very often than a flawed yokozuna who'd fluked his way to the rope.

Go, go Wakatakakage! I believe he already deserves the gino-sho with his performance so far, and the shukun-sho if he manages a yusho or doten, because that'll mean beating at least 2 ozeki in the next couple of days. Can he do it? Rikishi with this sort of momentum can do it (re: Tokushoryu, Daieisho and Tamawashi), but he's not alone; Takayasu is right there too, so it's not clear. I've got my fingers crossed for a play-off between these two.

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24 minutes ago, Kaito said:

It's not the first time I've seen a basho like Shodai is having, but I won't pretend to understand it. Quite a miraculous, and weird, turnaround.

It sounded like he was still feeling the after effects of COVID at the start from what I recall from pre-basho talk. It might have taken until Day 5-6 for him to start getting a good nights sleep and be able to breath clearly. Would definitely explain his sudden resurgence.

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Posted (edited)

Pretty sweet bout from Hōshōryū, beating Ōnoshō at his own game. But did anyone spot the harite at the start of the bout? Not sure if that's a good thing that more people seem to be breaking out the harite this bashō.

Also not sure if this is a Shōdai exclusive, but I don't think Takakeishō usually starts the tachiai with hands folded rather than extended? That was fatal - he didn't have any basis to create separation, essentially ending up splatted against Shōdai, and Shōdai just wrapped up his arms and walked him out. Good result for Shōdai, but a capitalisation on an error rather than any genius of his own making. I'd write it down to Takakeishō being in the wrong headspace after yesterday's manhandling by Kotonowaka and a misguided attempt at a kachiage, but we shall see tomorrow - Takakeishō has little to be happy with himself for these two days' sumō. Despite the bad head to head, Takayasu might actually have the mental advantage going into his bout tomorrow. I don't know what got into Takakeishō, but if he screws up again Takayasu has him bundled.

To be fair to Mitakeumi, he lasted a lot longer than an oshi practitioner would normally have if caught in yotsu. He did successfully deny Takayasu a full right-hand grip repeatedly, until Mitakeumi didn't notice the sneaky mae-mawashi grip and reacted too late with/in too poor a position for the makikae (in fact, that attempt at a reaction is already better than most oshi practitioners in that situation). I don't think it's a big issue that this has ruined his chances for the rope, because he's not that calibre of rikishi to pass through ōzeki in 2 bashō anyway. I won't knock his ultimate chances but I don't have him pegged as a dai-yokozuna; with his stable performance he's likely to remain ōzeki for a long time with few kadoban if any.

Edited by Seiyashi
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3 hours ago, Eikokurai said:

Takayasu withstands the pressure and rejoins WTK in the lead! Not quite a two-horse race but they're two wins ahead of the chasers now.

One more win by either of them drops the entire 8-4 cohort and leaves only the 9-3s (Mitakeumi, Kotonowaka) in contention. So honestly the 8-4 group might as well not be there barring a miracle.

Thing is, with three days to go and only 2 ōzeki to fight, Mitakeumi's likely last opponent is Kotonowaka. That knocks at least one of them out, and then they still need to stay perfect and pray for multiple drops by whoever is in the lead. Given the likely last opponent for Wakatakakage (see below), it's not immediately clear.

The other question is who Takayasu and Wakatakakage's last opponent will be - 2 ōzeki each, but a last gimme bout? I'm having difficulty seeing credible opponents for either of them. The last opponent picked should have something to play for still and be credible, otherwise the schedulers have as good as thrown the Cup one way or another. 

Takayasu has an easier time of it - Abi is probably his last opponent especially if he is still fighting for sanyaku survival on senshuraku, but if he goes MK by then then Ichinojō (not ideal, KK already, but maybe how high up the sanyaku he goes) or Endō may be suitable. But Endō is also Wakatakakage's only credible and highest ranking last opponent. If Endō secures his KK before then, it's not clear who would be a good matchup for Wakatakakage. Endō might just get shanghaied to fight the two yūshō leaders anyway since he is probably the best hope to stop them outside of the sanyaku, assuming they stay perfect all the way.

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1 hour ago, RabidJohn said:
3 hours ago, Tigerboy1966 said:

Shodai easily defeats Takakeisho and my inner cynic sarcastically comments "Oh, what a surprise".

Yeah, the conspiracy theorists are going to be ecstatic if Shodai beats Mitakeumi (which the numbers suggest he's about due to).

No need for a conspiracy. With having had a neck injury, his KK in hand and out of the yusho race you could be sure Takakeisho was not going hard against a resurgent Shodai. I expect the same tomorrow against Takayasu. If Takayasu is sloppy or makes a mistake Takakeisho will make him pay, otherwise don't expect a hard charge at the tachai-ai or a big fight on the bales by Takakeisho. 

As far as Shodai as a hard opponent for the leaders we will have to see. Yes he's come back strong and looks good but he'll almost certainly get his KK tomorrow against Kotonowaka who's lost 2 in a row and is not only out of the yusho race but likely to lose his Komusubi slot to the winner of the Ichinojo-Hoshoryu match.  Shodai may let up himself once he's cleared kadoban. 

Takayasu and Wakatakakage both looked very good today. But I think the edge is still with the former since he's beaten one ozeki already. 

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Posted (edited)

Dear NHK,

 Please don't bring former Kisenosato on as a commentator to jinx Takayasu.

Thanks,

Takayasu fans everywhere. 

Edited by Rocks
  • Haha 7

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